Grainger turns tables whilst Hodge and Reed prove dominance
GB Performance Director David Tanner predicted that today’s racing in the GB Rowing Team Senior Trials would be the most competitive ever seen at a Trials and that is how it turned out to be.
The Olympic course showed itself off in the sunshine as Katherine Grainger beat her world champion women’s double scull partner Anna Watkins to wrest back the crown she lost to Watkins last year.
Peter Reed and Andrew Triggs Hodge underlined their “top-dog” status in the open weight men’s squad by winning the men’s pair from Alex Partridge and Alex Gregory.
“It’s nice to get the job done”, said Reed. “It’s been a special win for me today as it marks two Olympiads with wins at final Trials and I’ve got to give big credit to “Hodgey” [Triggs Hodge], he’s a massive strokeman.”
Alan Campbell reigned supreme for the eighth time in the open men’s single scull but there were surprise winners of the lightweight men’s and women’s single sculls in Adam Freeman-Pask and Kat Copeland – the latter having joined the senior squad after winning the world U23 title last year.
Earlier in the today’s racing, Helen Glover and Heather Stanning kept to the script by powering to victory in the women’s pair from team-mates Jess Eddie and Louisa Reeve.
“We’ve had some outstanding and very close racing today. That tells us that the depth in the squad is really, really strong,” said Tanner.
“We had a few of our top guns missing in the lightweight men’s squad but apart from that I think our rowers have shown that we can really step up for this Olympic season.
“Also, we’ve seen that the venue has delivered. We’ve had good weather and we’ve had a lot of British public here today and that support has been exceptional. I think we have all got the feeling and the message now that the Olympic Games are close and we will and can step up to them and having our Olympic trials here finishing in the sunshine has been just the starter we needed for the 2012 season.”
Tanner also commented on the outstanding support given to the squad by the National Lottery and Siemens, the GB Rowing Team’s High Performance Partner and said: “Many in the crowd will have bought their lottery tickets this week and we really appreciate the massive backing the public are giving us through the Lottery.”
Great Britain’s two adaptive men’s single scullers – aiming for a place at the first world cup of the season but also with an eye on this year’s Paralympic Games – went head-to-head in their own Trials at the squad’s training centre at Caversham today. Tom Aggar, the reigning Paralympic Champion beat Andy Houghton by six seconds.
“The Trials have gone well and the squad can now prepare for the Varese International Regatta,” said lead adaptive coach, Tom Dyson.
If you have been inspired by the weekend’s rowing trials why not take a trial of your own. More information at www.nationontrial.org <http://www.nationontrial.org>
Helen Glover and Heather Stanning, World silver medallists, were fast from the outset of the women’s pair final which opened the programme on finals morning at the 2012 GB Rowing Team Senior Trials.
They had their noses ahead by 250m before moving out to two-thirds of a length and then a length fairly quickly over Jess Eddie and Louisa Reeve.
By halfway it was clear who would win and that focused attention on the battle between the Eddie-Reeve combination and Olivia Whitlam racing here with Emily Taylor for second and third. These three crews broke away from the rest of the field but Eddie and Reeve held their nerve and their position to take second by a good margin with Glover and Stanning winning in 7:01.47.
The lightweight women’s single scull was a somewhat closer affair. Last year’s winner, Sophie Hosking, was tucked in the pack as the race reached the 500m mark.
Andrea Dennis was showing strongly on the finish tower side of the course and Imogen Walsh was in contention, too. Kat Copeland, though, was the race leader – a position she proved determined not to relinquish as she moved to a half-length lead and then a two-thirds lead before going on to win in 7:43.15.
“I just wanted to put in the fastest race I could and not worry about what was happening around me”, said Copeland afterwards. “I felt people around me and knew they were pushing up closer and then falling back but I just wanted to focus on what I was doing and it worked”.
Behind her Sophie Hosking battled up into second place and surged once or twice to narrow the gap but did not have enough to take the edge off Copeland’s lead, finishing second in 7:44.73 with Walsh third in 7:45.11.
Hester Goodsell from the 2011 World bronze medal double was missing through illness today, which means that Paul Thompson, the Chief Coach for lightweights, has some food for thought in forming his lightweight women’s double scull.
Alan Campbell settled into an early race lead from Olympic double scull bronze medallist Matt Wells in the open men’s single scull final.
Campbell had the slight edge over the first half of the course in an excellent battle with Wells before stepping on strongly just after halfway to create clear water.
He accelerated again at 1500m and was a strong winner in 6:49.50. Behind Campbell and Wells, Charles Cousins proved his return to fitness after injury last season by taking third with Steve Rowbotham fourth and newcomer Graeme Thomas pipping Tom Solesbury on the line to take fifth.
This will give an interesting choice for the chief coach as to whether Campbell continues his successful run in the single or perhaps turns to a double scull.
“It’s good to get the eighth win and on the Olympic course. That makes it special, especially with the support on the banks and it gives me a good memory to store up of racing here. I’ve said it before and will repeat it now, the British Trials is one of the toughest events we do, racing against our team-mates but also against some of the best people in the world”, said Campbell.
Sam Townsend from Reading won the ‘B’ final of the men’s single scull by more than three lengths ahead of Loughborough student Jonathan Walton from Leicester and London RC’s Henry Pelly with Townsend’s GB teammate Bill Lucas off the pace in fifth.
Adam Freeman-Pask proved his winter training had paid off with an explosive start in the lightweight men’s ‘A’ Final.
The Windsor rower and single scull specialist gained an early lead of half a length on his rivals Peter Chambers and Paul Mattick and he kept the sweep specialists at bay before opening things up and stroking away to a commanding lead at the finish.
Chambers, from Coleraine and 2011 World U23 and World senior gold medallist in the lightweight pair, who rows for Oxford Brookes University Boat Club, held on behind Freeman-Pask to claim second, a length and a half ahead of Paul Mattick in third. Although Zac Purchase, Mark Hunter, Rob Williams and Peter’s brother Richard Chambers missed the trial they are still in contention for the 2012 squad.
The lightweight men’s ‘B’ final in the single scull gave U23 rower Zak Lee-Green from Cardiff a chance to shine, finishing first by half a length from 2010 World Champion in the lightweight sweep men’s four Chris Bartley in what Bartley describes as his “least favourite discipline”.
Next on the course came one of the most eagerly awaited finals of the day – the women’s single scull showdown between the 2011 World Champion double scull crewmates Katherine Grainger and Anna Watkins.
Watkins ended Grainger’s streak of six successive Trials titles in the single last year and burst out of the start into an early half-length lead.
But by the 500m mark, six-times World Champion Grainger, was up to speed and caught Watkins before edging gradually into the lead and holding on to claim a memorable victory in what is likely to be her last GB Rowing Team Trials – should she decide to retire post-London.
Gloucester’s Beth Rodford was ever present in third though unable to close the gap on the duel in front of her.
Frances Houghton, bidding for a place in her fourth Olympics, was fourth ahead of Imperial College Boat Club’s Mel Wilson – a fine achievement given Houghton’s run of injuries in the past year. “This time last year I wouldn’t have dreamed about being here,” she said. “It’s great to do a full weekend of racing and be in top form.”
Vicky Thornley, stroke of last year’s World bronze medal eight, produced a comprehensive victory in the ‘B’ final of the women’s single scull ahead of Erica Bodman from Guernsey and Nottingham’s Vicky Meyer-Laker.
The men’s pair final was the culmination of the GB Rowing Team Trials and served up a fitting finale for the weekend’s racing in glorious sunshine in front of a sizeable crowd.
Peter Reed and Andrew Triggs Hodge secured their seventh pairs title together after taking charge of the race from just after the 500m mark.
They were tracked all the way by the two “Alex’s” Partridge and Gregory who could not quite complete the challenge and with the whole field packed close behind them in what was some of the tightest men’s pairs racing ever at Trials.
As many had tipped the challenge in the closing stages came from World U23 Champions Constantine Louloudis and George Nash who edged through Ric Egington and Tom James as well as James Foad and Moe Sbihi in a thrilling conclusion to the race.
Every rower in the six boats won World gold or silver medals in 2011.
Louloudis said afterwards: “George and I together have made big strides,” said Louloudis. “Each day (an Olympic place) seems more possible really.”
Gregory travelled out to Beijing as a reserve, watching from the stands, and praised the strength of the squad going into a home Games: “The squad almost couldn’t be better than it is,” he said. “It is a very strong team. I want to be on the start line (come the Olympic Games) but I will never be sure of my seat until I’m on that start line.”
Triggs Hodge was impressed by the crowd that gathered at Dorney to cheer on the trials. “It is a really nice atmosphere that shows rowing at its best,” he said. “Knowing that people are supporting us is a big motivation for the training in the coming months, and it is a real source of pride, as an athlete, winning final trials.”
In the ‘B’ final of the men’s pair, GB squad rowers Tom Broadway and Dan Ritchie fired on all cylinders to win and post a time comparable with the ‘A’ final after missing the cut by less than a second in yesterday’s repechage.
1. Helen Glover (Minerva Bath/Penzance/17.06.86)/
Heather Stanning (Army RC/Lossiemouth/26.01.85) 7:01.47
2. Jess Eddie (Univ of London BC/Durham/07.10.84)/
Louisa Reeve (Leander Club/London/16.05.84) 7:07.63
3. Emily Taylor (Leander Club/Lincoln/28.06.87)/
Olivier Whitlam (Agecroft/Warrington/16.9.85) 7:10.21
4. Jo Cook (Leander Club/Sunbury-on-Thames/22.03.84)/
Polly Swann (Leander Club/Edinburgh/05.06.88) 7:13.74
5. Monica Relph (Leander Club/Aylesbury/15.01.88)
Alison Knowles (Thames RC/Bournemouth/27.03.82) 7:18.42
6. Caragh McMurtry (Reading Univ BC/Southampton/22.08.91)/
Olivia Carnegie-Brown (Oxford Brookes Univ BC/Reading/28.03.91) 7:28.79
1. Katherine Grainger (St. Andrew BC/Aberdeen/12.11.75) 7:31.37
2. Anna Watkins (Leander Club/Leek, Staffs/13.02.83) 7:33.28
3. Beth Rodford (Gloucester RC/Gloucester/28.02.82) 7:36.40
4. Frances Houghton (Leander Club/Oxford/19.09.80) 7:39.41
5. Melanie Wilson (Imperial College BC/London/25.06.84) 7:43.93
6. Rachel Gamble-Flint (Leander Club/Darlington/13.09.91) 7:55.10
1. Pete Reed (Leander Club/Nailsworth, Glos/27.07.81)/
Andrew Triggs Hodge (Molesey BC/Hebden, N. Yorks/03.03.79) 6:26.43
2. Alex Partridge (Leander Club /Alton, Hants/25.01.81)/
Alex Gregory (Leander Club /Wormington, Glos/11.03.84) 6:29.50
3. George Nash (Cambridge Uni BC/Guildford/02.10.89)/
Constantine Louloudis (Isis BC/London/15.09.91) 6:30.07
4. Richard Egington (Leander Club/Knutsford/26.02.79)/
Tom James (Molesey BC/Wrexham/11.03.84) 6:32.32
5. James Foad (Molesey BC/Southampton/20.03.87)/
Mohamed Sbihi (Molesey BC/Surbiton/27.03.88) 6:32.34
6. Greg Searle (Molesey BC/Marlow/20.03.72)/
Tom Ransley (York City RC/Cambridge/06.09.85) 6:36.83
1. Alan Campbell (Tideway Scullers/Coleraine/09.05.83) 6;49.50
2. Matt Wells (Leander Club/Hexham, Northumberland/19.04.79) 6:54.10
3. Charles Cousins (Reading Univ BC/Willingham, nr Cambridge) 6:59.45
4. Stephen Rowbotham (Leander Club/Winscombe, Somerset/11.11.81) 7:00.77
5. Graeme Thomas (Agecroft RC/Preston/08.11.1988) 7:03.28
6. Tom Solesbury (Leander Club/Petts Wood, Kent/23.09.80) 7:03.72
1. Kat Copeland (Tees RC/Ingelby Barwick, Stockton-on-Tees/01.12.90) 7:43.15
2. Sophie Hosking (London RC/Wimbledon/25.01.86) 7:44.73
3. Imogen Walsh (London RC/Inverness/17.01.84) 7:45.11
4. Andrea Dennis (Imperial College BC/Oxford/03.01.82) 7:48.36
5. Laura Greenhalgh (Imperial College BC/Huddeson/2.9.85) 7:54.74
Kathryn Twyman (OUWBC/Edmonton, Canada/29.03.87) DNS
1. Adam Freeman-Pask (Imperial College BC/Windsor/19.06.85) 7:03.69
2. Peter Chambers (Oxford Brookes Uni BC/Coleraine/14.03.90) 7:08.13
3. Paul Mattick (Leander Club /Frome, Somerset/25.04.78) 7:11.42
4. Michael Mottram (Leander Club/Stoke Mandeville/08.06.90) 7:11.45
5. Chris Boddy (Leander Club/Stockton on Tees/16.11.87) 7:12.59
6. Sam Scrimgeour (Imperial College BC) 7:16.97
1. Vicky Thornley (Leander Club/Wrexham/30.11.87) 7:45.11
2. Erica Bodman (Reading Uni BC/St Martins, Guernsey/24.01.88) 7:53.61
3. Vicki Meyer-Laker (Nottingham RC/Nottingham/18.03.88) 7:56.69
4. Kristina Stiller (Leander Club) 8:01.89
5. Georgie Hazell (Reading Univ BC/Hook/2.12.88) 8:03.26
6. Franki Sanjana (Mortlake Anglian & Alpha BC/18.9.84) 8:11.34
1. Tom Broadway (Leander Club/Newport Pagnell/21.08.82)/
Dan Ritchie (Leander Club/Herne Bay/06.01.87) 6:40.27
2. Ben Smith (Molesey BC/7.8.86)/Dan Ouseley (Molesey BC/18.1.79) 7:17.98
1. Sam Townsend (Reading Univ BC/Reading/26.11.85) 7:05.39
2. Jonathan Walton (Loughborough Students/Leicester/06.10.90) 7:11.15
3. Henry Pelly (Molesey BC/London/30.07.1983) 7:14.38
4. David Read (Leander Club) 7:18.26
5. Bill Lucas (London RC/Kingswear/13.09.87) 7:20.09
6. Alan Sinclair (Leander Club) 7:21.80
1. Zak Lee-Green (Agecroft and Manchester Univ BC/Cardiff) 7:12.56
2. Chris Bartley (Leander Club/Wrexham/02.02.84) 7:13.63
3. Jonathan Clegg (Leander Club/Henley-on-Thames/14.07.1989) 7:15.47
4. Alex Robertson (Leander Club/26.3.92) 7:20.55
5. Jamie Coombes (Hereford RC/Hereford/ 22.06.90) 7:24.11
Ben Rowe (Tees RC/Teesside/5.11.88) DNS
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